India on Friday brushed aside reports that it had stopped issuing visas in Sri Lanka and said there were some problems as the staff in the High Commission, mostly locals, were not able to attend office.
Operations will resume soon and New Delhi is committed to ease of travel for the Sri Lankans, it assured.
In another development, Indian High Commissioner to Colombo Gopal Baglay called on newly-appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and conveyed greetings and good wishes.
They discussed continued co-operation for economic recovery and stability in Sri Lanka through democratic processes.
As regards the visa issue, the Indian High Commission said the disruption was caused by operational difficulties.
“High Commission categorically denies that it or the Indian Consulates-General or the Assistant High Commission of #India in #SriLanka have stopped issuing visas. In the past few days, there were operational difficulties due to the inability of our Visa Wing staff, most of whom are #SriLankan nationals, to attend office,” the Indian High Commission tweeted.
“We are striving to return our functioning to the normal levels soon. We remain committed to facilitating ease of travel for #SriLankans to #India. #SriLankans are welcome in #India just as #Indians are in #SriLanka,” it said.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, meanwhile, has said he looks forward to closer ties with India during his term and thanked India for its economic assistance to the country as it tackles the worst economic crisis since independence.
Wickremesinghe, 73, was sworn-in as Sri Lanka’s 26th prime minister on Thursday to stabilise the country’s debt-ridden economy and end the political turmoil.
“I want a closer relationship and I want to thank Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi,” Wickremesinghe said, referring to the Indian economic assistance to his country. India has committed more than USD 3 billion to debt-ridden Sri Lanka in loans, credit lines and credit swaps since January this year. On Thursday, it said it looked forward to working with the new Sri Lankan government formed in accordance with the democratic processes and New Delhi’s commitment to the people of the island nation will continue.